12 Things to Watch in Sunday's Colts-49ers game
This Waterboy was devastating. How will the Colts' fare?
Last week, the Colts' bid to to pull out another thriller came up just short as they couldn't finish off the Miami Dolphins. This week, they take on the San Francisco 49ers in a true test of just how far the franchise has come. Here's what to be on the lookout for...
1. Watch for the litmus test. Over the next few weeks, the Colts will face three of the four best teams in football. Along with Seattle and Denver, the 49ers represent where the Colts want to be as a franchise. Forget point differential, DVOA and everything else for a moment. For fans of the good old-fashioned eyeball test, just watch the game. Do the Colts look like they are in the same league physically and talent-wise as San Francisco. Do they compete? Is the game close? Whether or not Indy sneaks into the playoffs with eight or nine wins or not, measure them against the best, and that should tell you how close they are to true contention.
2. Watch the Waterboy. Chuck Pagano said the Colts didn't bring Trent Richardson in to be the waterboy, ensuring that's his new nickname. My personal disdain for the Richardson trade aside, the biggest problem is that Indy is only getting 13-1/2 games out of him this year. Had they made this same deal two or three weeks ago, Richardson might have helped them win the Dolphins game and would be ready for the San Francisco game. Obviously, the trade wasn't "necessary" two weeks ago, but that's beside the point. How much Richardson plays in Week 3 is going to be a story. On one hand, he's in shape. On the other hand, he doesn't know the offense. No matter what he does, good or bad, this trade won't be decided this week. For now, watch his assimilation and hope he can do it all night long.
3. Watch the hole. Dwayne Allen creates holes when he's on the field, and now that he's missing from the offense, he creates a different kind of hole. The biggest problem with the Colts' efforts to be a smash-mouth run-first team is that they don't have the offensive line for it. Allen is a devastating blocker, and without him, there are serious questions as to whether Indy can open creases for the runners. This is another major problem with those expecting a rejuvenation from Trent Richardson: the Colts' line is much, much worse than the Browns'. Richardson may be a very good back, but it's entirely possible that without Allen (and Donald Thomas), we could spend all season not knowing as he gets swarmed under in the backfield.
4. Watch for the flashbacks. Eric Walden may well feel like a veteran returning to 'Nam this week. Last time he was in San Francisco, he was repeatedly humiliated by Colin Kaepernick. Walden never did figure out how to "set the edge", and the Packers got steam-rolled as a result. Two weeks into his Colts career, Walden has been a disaster. He is undisciplined and still struggles when quarterbacks get out of the pocket. If he can't hold the line on the corner, the Niners may well run Indianapolis off the field early in this one.
5. Watch the eyes get large. The most disturbing element of Andrew Luck's young career is that he has started holding the ball too long. What I loved about him early in 2012 was that he made quick reads and threw the ball. That's a skill that's quickly eroding, however. He takes far too many unnecessary sacks and hits caused by simply pounding the ball. Aldon Smith is waiting for him this week, and he won't have the luxury of scanning the field. Against Miami, Luck didn't look comfortable on the final two drives. His line is unlikely to help him out, so Luck will have to dictate his own protection by making quick, decisive throws. The best protection any quarterback has is his own ability to make quick reads and release the ball.
6. Watch for the big ol' family affair. The Colts-49ers game features more philosophical incest than a Skywalker family reunion in Kentucky. Obviously, Jim Harbaugh has a special place in Colts' history, and a weird place in the IU family as brother-in-law to Tom Crean. But he was also Andrew Luck's head coach and Pep Hamilton's boss. Then there's the fact that Luck told him to draft Kaepernick. And Vernon and Vontae Davis are actual brothers. Half the Colts defense cycled through San Francisco at some point, and Greg Manusky used to coach for the 49ers. In a startling discovery it will be revealed at halftime that Vic Fangio is his own grandpa.
7. Watch the bumps and bruises. You never want to see the following names on the injury report at the same time: T.Y. Hilton, Reggie Wayne and Darius Heyward-Bey. The last two have been on full participation, but that's also just one side of the ball. Both safeties also missed practice on Thursday. Indy has lost three offensive starters in the past week alone, so it's getting pretty crowded on the sidelines. Indy isn't a deep roster to begin with, so if they lose anyone else, they may end up needing the actual water boy to suit up. I feel like there is a "water carrier" joke to be made here, but as the Indy press is so vigilant and critical of the current regime, I decided it just wouldn't be fair.
8. Watch the rebound. Indy is getting San Francisco at the worst possible moment. Having been waxed on the road at the hands of division-rival Seattle, the 49ers need a win against the Colts. Had they beaten the Seahawks, perhaps you could have made the case that this was a trap game. After all, they play another division rival in just four days. After a terrible showing in prime-time, however, there's just no way San Francisco overlooks the Colts. A big showing against the NFC champs will be all the more impressive because Indy will get the best shot San Francisco has to offer.
9. Watch a tradition unlike any other. The Colts get their first dose of Jim Nantz and Phil Sims this year. One of the overlooked aspects of sliding down the NFL pecking order is avoiding Sims' commentary on a near-weekly basis. Easily the most bland of the major broadcast teams, it's still remarkable how often Sims is just...wrong about things. He gets rules wrong, analysis wrong, strategy wrong. He's the Matt Millen of broadcasting. Except that now Matt Millen is a broadcaster too, so that means there's someone even worse out there. Geeze, even at being the worst, Sims is bad.
10. Watch the rarity. The Colts have won one game in San Francisco since 1968. That was the 28-3 win in 2005. That might be discouraging for Indy, except they've only played in San Francisco three times since 1972. In the Indianapolis era, the Colts are 1-2 when visiting the 49ers. With the current cycle of games, Indy won't play there again until 2021. So enjoy that authentic Rice-a-Roni while you can, Colts fans. It's a rare and heady dish.
11. Watch for redemption. Coby Fleener took a big step forward last week in his quest to get in the good graces of Colts fans. With a nice day that should have been better (he scored a potential game-winning touchdown that was nullified by penalty), he got out of the dog house. Now with all the wideouts ailing and Allen on the shelf for good, it's time for Fleener's impact to be felt regularly in the passing game. The only problem is that the 49ers have been very good against tight ends. They've finished no lower than 7th in DVOA versus tight ends since 2008. They are fourth this year. With outstanding linebackers, San Francisco is poised to take away what Indy needs to thrive. A big game by Fleener would speak volumes about his ability to make an impact for the Colts.
12. Watch for a rout. It's time for honesty. I don't think the the Colts are very good. I don't like the roster construction. I don't think they are built to win in today's NFL. I think they can still make the playoffs thanks to a weak AFC, but don't expect them to be competitive against the elite teams. The most likely outcome on Sunday is that they go to San Francisco and get run over. 49ers 35 Colts 17.
Thrilled to have been wrong last week. Since I clearly am clueless, I will predict a blowout win for the Jags this week, and plan to be happy Sunday evening that I was wrong once more.
This is kind of funny reading the Monday after. No shame in being wrong on this one, as pretty much everyone, wearing blue or not, was. However, the comprehensiveness of your negativity (e.g. "weak AFC" does indeed look goofy now.
It ended up being a rout after all. You were certainly right. Luck sacked only once with a patchwork line, and appeared to me to make plenty of pre-snap adjustments to make sure the blocking coverage was set up right against the defensive look. Ahmad looking awesome running behind Castonzo (except for one odd-looking loss of 2). Defense was extraordinary against the pass in tight coverage. We even limited Kaep and the run game other than on one drive. Impressive outing in SF.
1. Nate, you forgot that Vic Fangio actually was the DC for Colts 1999-2001 and coached at Stanford, as did the OC and some other 49ers coaches. There's more cross pollination going on with this game than in a field of wild flowers. I get the Skywalker, Star Wars reference, but would someone mind telling me about Kentucky? Are they the biggest state for cousin marriages or something?
2. I second your disgust of giving up a number 1 pick for Trent, not that he isn't OK, but that is too high of a price to give up the number 1 pick given the needs on this team as well as their schedule this year. Could someone please do an in depth analysis of Grigson's decisions and how they impact the Colts? I think this guy is bad news for this team and Walden is only the beginning of how he will kill this franchise. Not since the days of Al Davis & Tannenbaum have I seen someone overvaluing so many players and hocking his team's future on so many unnecessarily risky bad bets. Many of Grigson's guys were not worth the draft picks he gave up or the money he spent on them.
3. As sad as Pagano's illness was, I am glad we got to see what this team's potential could be under BA, especially Andrew Luck. I fear that under Pagano and Hamilton, Andrew Luck will regress or be reduced to a Troy Aikman. Don't get me wrong, the guy is a HOFer, but there's always an asterisk next to his name saying that his team carried him. Luck has the talent to be the greatest of all time and many think at least better than Peyton down the line if he keeps making progress at the pace he was going. The greatest QBs are judged on their passing game, not handing off the ball game. They are judged on passing heroics in SBs. Does anyone know who was the RB for the 49ers when Montana/Young were there or during the time Brady won the SB or still much today? Or when Brees won his? Even though Elways had TD during his SB wins (his RB, not touchdowns), it was his own heroics that got him his legendary status, not a passive role as ball boy while dinking and dunking his way to the end zone as others make the touchdowns. Don't get me wrong, I don't think BA's style is good long term either, but at least it allowed Luck to grow and improve. Broncos have it right in terms of giving Peyton weapons on defense, great protection (even his back up offensive line is much better than ours) and offensive weapons that will help him play to his strenghts as well as be the star and that is why Peyton is doing so well. I wish that kind of system and support for Luck and I fear he will never even come close to his potential under Colt's current philosophy and its leaders' lack of football acument.
Even with the honestly bleak outlook, Nate (with which I am in complete agreement, if it isn´t clear by now), thanks for the laughs your 6th paragraph unleashed, Nate. An "Eyes in the backfield" column with a Skywalker reference and "Vic Fangio is his own grandpa" will always brighten my day.
Sims can be the Peter King of broadcasting (or is King featured enough that he's considered a broadcaster too?).
I didn't like how Luck played the first 2 weeks. Holding the ball too long is a glaring feature of his game. Then it's him not finding the open receiver. He had Fleener open and he didn't pass to him in the Oakland game. In the Miami game I believe it was Whalen that was open and he got locked on Wayne. He doesn't read the blitz well enough to check the ball down or find the open spot. My feeling is that Pep Hamilton limits Luck's confidence and I am also not sure how much Luck himself wants to take initiative to change that. I loved how Arians last year put so much on his back and instilled more confidence in him.
The Colts were blown out by the JETS last season. i think they will get blown out on Sunday. The big game will be Seattle at home. I like the roster construction on offense for the most part. I like the goal of having a complete team for change. I always wonder what football credentials the bloogers have (coaching, front office etc.). They claim to smarter than everybody else even ex players. I love Big Boy Football.
So will Monday's headlines read "Sautéed and Simmered"...?
Meh, every season there is an ugly loss--getting blown out on the road by a superior team (coming off an embarrassing national TV loss to its arch rival) when you just lost 3 starters on offense and have your two or three top tacklers and two of top three receivers on the injury report... I really can't get too worked up about losing this week, even getting toasted. I'd LIKE to see progress, maturity, better play-calling. No more injuries. A close loss would be fine. A win would be one of those shake-your-head and say "we didn't deserve that" games.
So despite the dirges, sackcloth and ashes, we know it'll stink, so let's either get to some overdue yard work on Sunday and ignore the game entirely, or look for a little good to pull out of it. Because It'll be unpleasant, sure, but we all expect that (I've been to funerals that have been wailing/hair-yanking funerals, and others than have been celebrations, including one at a bar!). It all comes down to perspective for me this week. This was a game that, six months ago, everyone on earth circled and said "probable loss." That was long before we saw that the ground and pound comments made by the FO were not jokes or deception, before we saw what looks like desperation (4 straight passes to end last game with 1:52 on the clock and the ball at the 30? Trading for a recent top-3 pick RB in win-now mode for a team that is nowhere near ready to win it all now?) from both coaching staff and FO. So we know it's gonna be bad overall. That being said, there have to be some silver linings on Sunday. competent interior OL play, competent Fleener, no injury lag for Bethea/Landry/TY, etc. Richardson looks decent. Luck sacked fewer than three times. Any of those is worth a minor celebration given the circumstances.
I have this strange feeling about this game that we might actually have a shot. Something about Luck is starting to inspire the same hope I had used to have with Peyton. Maybe not to a full blown extent, but its starting..... that or its just me hoping this Richardson TRade was all worth it
Interesting concern about Luck holding the ball. It seems a bit odd since the point of Pep's offense was to give Luck check downs. I wonder if he is just trying too hard or the receivers aren't getting open. The number of runs he made in the Miami game would suggest the latter to me.
Well hello all you fine folks here at Colts Authority. It's been a long time. I had to step away for a while to lick my wounds and learn to walk without my tail tucked between my legs. It took some time, but I got my strut back.
I have to admit, some may consider me a traitor. My stable now holds two horses. One Colt, and one old Bronco. It is what it is. Blame Irsay, or Canada, just don't blame me. I feel like a spectator more than I used too. Obviously, I was always just a spectator, but my heart isn't with this team the way it once was. I want Peyton Manning to go down as the GOAT and he needs more Superbowls. Not in my mind, but I don't even want it to be debatable. I'm sorry, but Peyton MF Manning, well, (q Terrell Owens) He's my quarterback.
With that being said, what in Hell's bathroom are Irsay and Grigson doing? Everything seems so rushed. I understand what they are building, but I can't wrap my head around how they are going about it. I also can't help but think that Irsay has his hand way too far in the cookie jar. Im my own fantasy world I was hoping P-Money would win a couple Lombardi's, and Grigson would assemble the "Monster" assuring a decade of dominance. Wiping away any doubt that the release of PM was best for both sides.......I'm really starting to have my doubts.
I understand the model of what they want to build, but see the FO is going about it bass ackwards. All those teams where built without a franchise QB. The Colts have a luxury most teams don't. They Lucked out with the first pick in the draft. Those other teams had no choice in what type of team to build. They didn't have a franchise QB. Power running and defense where their only hope. The Colts have Andrew Luck! Will some one please tell them. I'm not sure they've noticed yet. He's pretty good. They are building a team to chew up clock and win close games, but again, they have Andrew Luck.
Why are they playing it so safe with him? He doesn't need his college coach to be successful. This isn't Tim Tebow we are talking about. The Colts haven't only invested a 1st round pick on a RB who looked like AP a year ago, but is starting to look more and more like every other Alabama player, they just doubled down on Pep and his system. All the "we need to run the ball to win" talk is no longer rhetoric, it's reality.
People can't dismiss the draft pick because it will be a middle to late rounder, and where T Rich was drafted a year ago doesn't matter. Listening to Grigson equate where he was drafted to why he will be good was mind numbing. If the Browns could go back in time do you think they would give away picks to get Richardson, or just draft Doug Martin at 22? Hmmm. The Browns can't go back in time, but Grigson has hindsight available. He just isn't using it. He still is using his pre draft evaluation! The Browns are basically saying, "we can get a better player anywhere in the first round" and they are right. Hell I bet the Saints would have traded Mark Ingram. I for one would be pretty pissed to hear Grigson didn't at least make a phone call. (sarcasm) The priorities of the new regime confuses the hell out of me. Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison where drafted mid to late 1st round. Not only have they failed to find replacements for Wayne, Freeney, or Mathis, I'm not sure they are looking. Who needs pass rushers and #1 WR's when you can ground and pound? This team can be exciting to watch, but it's been frustrating to watch it be built.
@pjdonald I am shocked by the collapse of the NFC. I'm at a serious loss to explain it. The one thing everyone (and I mean everyone) agreed on was that the NFC was much, much better than the AFC.
Then three of top 4 NFC teams go out and get beat by mediocre AFC teams. 11-3 overall in favor of AFC this year.
The two big takeaways are this: Kaepernick may not actually be any good and the NFC as a whole was totally overrated.
The Dolphins (who were crap against Indy) winning over Atlanta floored me.
As for Luck's legacy being reduced by our perception of where things are headed - that depends on one thing - that Luck actually wants to stay past his rookie contract. I guess they could tag him and prolong it, but eventually, if he wanted out, he could do it. If he was going to become the next Aikman, maybe you stay to win 3 rings like Troy did. But if you don't see that in the club's future, I'd say you make like Peyton and choose the team that has the best overall prospects. I hope the fear of a still young Luck leaving due to displeasure with the direction of the club would shock the FO into some sort of change. Perhaps in that manner, there is a check and balance in the future.
It is insane that I actually think about this as much as I do!
@FootballFanatic1 I didn't forget about Fangio. That was the joke!
@codrutc missing open guys is a bit scary. It also seems a bit surprising since in the deep play offense of last year it didn't seem to be that much of a problem. One would think that it would be even less of a problem in Pep's shorter offense. I wonder if Luck has been told to try to make more big plays or he has taken it upon himself.
@silentkmantab I always wonder what football reading the commenters who harp on Nate´s opinions have done (also Greg´s, Kyle´s, etc). Given the amount of analysts out there (Barnwell, Chris Burke, Andy Benoit, and the list goes on and on) and stats (FO, advancednflstats, PFF), it´s easy to form an opinion beyond parroting what TV pundits say. How you claim to be more in tune with football knowledge than these bloggers when you can´t be bothered to seek it on your own is beyond me. And since people like Mike Tanier write as entertainingly as Parks and Recs, there´s no hiding behind the "it´s so boring" canard.
Um, I'm pretty sure their "credential" come from analyzing football games, particularly with the new metrics football outsiders have developed.
If you haven't noticed most of the former players and even many of the coaches on tv have very few explanations why one team beat another besides they played better or had the momentum. The bloggers you denigrate offer much more sophisticated analysis which takes into account the more important reasons for winning and loosing. Interestingly these bloggers have been able to show that nearly all successful teams focus on passing the ball (QB play being key) and stopping the pass (either secondary play or passrushing being key). Teams that focus on the run have historically done worse and when they have won it has been due to a transcendent defense (who stopped the other QB not the run) and surprisingly good QB play. The two teams in the superbowl last year are examples of this. The Giants, Packers, Saints also underline the importance of an excellent passing attack and the ability to stop the pass on defense.
What all this means is that what you call "big boy football" has been shown to be ineffective. It sounds good and lots of pundents like it, but it doesn't work in practice. Further, since the Colts seem to have the most important ingredient of an game winning passing attack (a good QB) it seems absurd, tantamount to insane to abandon this proven path to success to pursue an approach which has been showen to fail and which the team lacks the personnel (great offensive line) to actually execute.
@silentkmantab Personally, my credibility comes from 10,000 articles over 7 years backed by scores of research. "Big Boy football" as you call it, is a proven losing strategy in the NFL.
I don't think I know more than most NFL teams or GMs. I do think there are teams that employ easy-to-identify losing strategies. They almost always involve the run game.
@DougEngland Haha! Absolutely! I also hear that Colin Kaepernick, Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, Justin Smith, Patrick Willis and Navorro Bowman were all in the car holding open containers. What? It was a big car.
@Peyton for President Great to see you, Peyton for President, and wonderful comments. I am wiping tears of laughter (and frustration) at the moment seeing that the people who blamed Peyton for the playoffs losses instead of the defense nowadays laud the Richardson trade that condemns the defense to more years of utter ineptitude as what will propel the Colts to several Super Bowl wins.
You also make a very insightful point regarding Grigson´s reasoning beyond the trade, and that it seems to have been inspired by Richardson´s college play and draft status, which has rightfully been eviscerated by smart analysts (I recommend the IAOFM analysis of the trade by Ted. http://www.itsalloverfatman.com/broncos/entry/gut-reaction-browns-trade-trent-richardson-to-colts). Moves about "sunken costs" are indeed mind-numbing, and you´ve managed to depress me even more (the truth is terrifying, so don´t think of this as a reproach at all).
@Peyton for President My fear is that Irsay has freaked out. (Even more than usual.) He is acting like he is truly surprised how well Peyton is playing in Denver and he has to do something to keep us Colts fans from noticing it.
Or I could be totally wrong about Irsay and Grigson is just doing what he thinks is best. I'm not sure which scares me more.
@Peyton for President John Clayton just this week answered a mailbag question from a "Doug in Cleveland" (Gosh damn insult to a great first name) "that while Peyton Manning is a great regular season QB, why does everyone not mention his playoff failures?" My first thought was who the hell is he listening to because that is all I ever hear about P-Money. A point Clayton made in his answer, while basically agreeing with him.
The vogue thing is to call Peyton the "Greatest ever regular season QB"... like this is an insult. (Since all regular season games don't really mean anything as they are just like the second game of a July double header in baseball.)
@Nate Dunlevy @pjdonald In the recent past, the AFC has been the dominant conference. Some AFC teams may post ugly records but they are for the most part competitive with the division rivals. I don't believe this week's game at JAX will be easy by any means, despite what the Jags have thrown up so far this year. Because of the experience of playing the tougher teams and thus tougher schedules, they are more prepared for the NFC teams. In one particular year in recent memory (about 3-4 years), the entire AFC South was at or above .500 about 10 games into the season. So even a "mediocre" AFC team has a shot at the "best" NFC teams - case in point with Cleveland this past week.
@Nate Dunlevy @pjdonald I have no clue about Atlanta, but as far as San Francisco is concerned, I have to agree with you that one of the major factors was Kaepernick being overrated. His legs and arm strength might be off the charts, but he has no touch, as seen during the first half. I also think his vision might be lacking when he has to go through his progressions. What it all comes down to is that the 49ers´ passing offense depends, in my opinion, more on off-the-field schematics and clever wrinkles than most offenses, and yesterday, to my complete surprise, San Francisco´s coaching staff did as poor a job as possible. That Gore didn´t get more carries defies logic, and his reaction towards Harbaugh seems to support my view.
The Kaepernick angle is the one that fascinates me though. Can you say "flavor of the week"? I assume you're going to write a piece this week on what the Colts actually did to contain him and get them to ditch the read-option. Or what defensive adjustments were made after the Niners' scoring drive.
@EconolineVan It is insane, yes. That would be nearly unprecedented as far as I can recall. Certainly draft picks have refused to play for certain teams who had proven to be shit organizations, but I can't recall a franchise QB refusing to resign with a team because he didn't like the direction of the offense, in the end football players need routine and leaving teams is a major disruption. Maybe demand a new OC behind the scenes (but given that Pep was brought in BECAUSE he was Luck's OC I can't see that being an issue).
Anyway, these kind of pie in the sky overreactions worrying about what is going to happen 3 years from now (4 if the Colts pick up the team option), is definitely a little insane. Things look a lot rosier in the light of a 27-7 road win over the 49ers I'd imagine. Come out of the darkness. I'm sure you saw the look on Luck's face after that win today, I don't think he worried about the fact that we ran the ball 39 times and he "only" had 170 passing yards.
@hankster @Nate Dunlevy Going back to Pagano's hiring, he talked about running and stopping the run. Of course, Grigson seems to support that, as does Hamilton. Has anyone ever seen an interview of any type with Pagano or Grigson (from last year or this year) where a question of the following nature is asked: "Given that most successful teams in the NFL today are good at passing, and rushing the passer, why would you favor 'run and stop the run' as your strategy?" I don't recall ever hearing this. I've seen them talk about running, but I've never heard any media member ask why you would build on that principle. I'd love to know if a) they think run/stop run is indeed a viable strategy still, even with acknowledged understanding that it is a passing league, or b) they don't buy into the concept that pass/stop pass is the modern NFL. I'm honestly baffled that they wouldn't know the same statistics that people like Nate have put up over the years that clearly show this trend. I'd like to get some insight as to what they are thinking with this approach. Maybe I'm just trying to convince myself that this running thing can work!!!
They were driving a Canyonero http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=e4QgWRycd7I&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3De4QgWRycd7I
I accidentally posted that. Damn tablet. I could really go on and on about the trade. Obviously I hope TR is a beast, but I'm scared if he is it might hurt the Colts long term. Might sound crazy, but that's how I see it.
The Colts over achieved last year. I kinda expected the Colts to come back down to earth a bit. Which in reality isn't the worst thing in the world. If TR tears it up, I think he still makes the Colts a middle of the pack team. If he sucks, then they just wasted a pick with a year worth of evidence suggesting TR isn't that good. Great teams are rarely assembled through free agency and if you start pissing away draft picks you will have no other choice. Mistakes in free agency are expensive and Grigson doesn't have the greatest track record in FA yet.
Every team has to find a balance of win now and build for the future. The Browns for instance are building for the future. The Broncos are in win now mode but balance building for the future very well. Even with Manning on his last run they are still building the team the right way, through the draft. The Colts are acting like it's Superbowl or bust. With so many holes all over the team this mentality could really hurt the Colts in the future. And won't even get in to what this trade suggests as far as the way they think a championship team is built.
If the Colts wanted a power back that could help win now the should have signed the same guy the Browns did. I'll take McGahee and that 1st rounder over TR all day. I can't believe I'm about to say this, but I think the Browns front office just out smarted the Colts.
The Colts are in such a great spot. They have 4 years of Luck on the cheap, and then thing are going to get much tougher. It just seems as they may be squandering a great chance to really be great for a long time because they don't seem to accurately see their team for what it is.
Thanks Goeland. It's nice to see the "familiars" still around. I've missed the Colts talk with all you. Yea, I frequent IAOFM. Great site. I don't often find myself in disagreement with those dudes.The Richardson trade was enough for me to finally speak up I guess. I'll eat crow if I'm wrong, but man, I just don't see it working out. Even if he is great, I don't think he gets the Colts over the "hump". Then you have to sign your QB and RB to huge contract in the same off season. Even if TR is AP I don't think it's a great move because of the money that it cost to have a top RB like AP. It just seems like a lose lose with the roster the way it is.
@DougEngland Jeez, I really hope Irsay is not trying to compete with the girlfriend he very logically dumped. He's a grown man, for Pete's sake, running a billion dollar company. That's over dude, move on with life. You have a great new one now....
Lol. I don't know if it has anything to do with Peyton or not, but like I said above, everything seems rushed. Like Richardson was the final piece to the championship puzzle. They are so far away from what they want to be, yet they act as if they're are on the cusp of greatness. They aren't. I am not a fan of how "involved" Irsay seems to be. I don't know if I'm just a bitter fan or what, but it seems like a slap in the face for the franchise to seem to want to be sooooo opposite of the previous decades team. As if it was a complete failure.
@DougEngland yeah. Both are pretty frighting. I'd vote for the latter though. There seems to be a concerted effort to be the opposite of the Colts under Manning. I didn't believe all the ground and pound, control the clock, impose your will rhetoric before since it is so comically silly, but really seems to be what the team wants to be all about.
Week in week out Manning's skill and preparation gave the Colts a ticket to the playoffs. The playoff failures, in my mind, were mostly due to the Colts facing better teams, and some bad luck. I'll never understand how people could even entertain the idea that QB's like Big Ben or Eli are in the same class as Peyton because of their supposed better post season play. I think that those of us that followed 18 closely understand that he was so good so quick that building a great team around him was extremely difficult. A year or two of stinking would have helped the team find more talent in the draft, something Polian struggled to do in his latter years with the Colts. But that's how good Peyton was. Regardless of what was going on around him, Peyton always got a ticket to the show. Something he will never get enough credit for. I think that Peyton spent so much time on the highlight reels that the average person figures he must suck in the post season, otherwise he'd be running out of fingers to wear all his rings.
Your comment was accurate 5-10 years back, but does not reflect recent realities.
And Jacksonville is just awful. Check the scoreboard through three games. They are not competitive in any against either conference.
@Colt_Following OK. I'll come out of the darkness, quit being a vampire, and live in the sunshine of the victory... Good point about franchise QB's and them not usually leaving over offensive scheme... It was indeed fun yesterday to see them stuff someone like that defensively...
@Nate Dunlevy @EconolineVan @hankster I pray Nate is mistaken but fear he is right. I had been hoping that all the talk about old school football was just that they wanted balance, unpredictability, no games with 60 pass attempts and 10 rush attempts. Which I support. But turning that ratio upside down is just stupid.
Not only should the Peyton years have proven that pass-heavy is the way to go (and a balanced attack is generally preferable to an all passing attack as well, like in our SB year), but the success in 2012 with Arians pushing Luck unconscionably toward a record number of pass attempts should have also nudged them toward the realization that "hey, this forward pass thing is a good idea!" IN moderation at least. 41 sacks and innumerable hits we can all do without.
So again, I can't imagine they're that stupid/hide-bound, and hope Nate is wrong. But am nervous that he's right.
@Nate Dunlevy Obviously, Pagano's model is his old Ravens team. Ironic that that team only won last year because their QB got unbelievably hot. (And a little lucky.)
@EconolineVan you said it.
You have now officially convinced me of my fear that last year was solely a product of Arians, not Chuck. How Irsay buys that running theory, though, after a decade plus of Peyton is even more confusing.
They believe as a matter of faith that smash-mouth football wins. It's the type of football they prefer. They don't accept modern math about the passing game.
This is the kind of team Pagano wants and has since day one. It's his DNA as a coach.
@Peyton for President You expressed my thoughts perfectly.
Thank you Nate. Reading your analysis over the years has certainly helped shape my perception and made me a smarter fan. Some of my "golden nuggets" of wisdom are a tribute to the work you've done over the years.
@Peyton for President I wish I could like this 1000 times.